Happy Birthday To You

First it was my daughter who turned sweet 16 two years ago. Today it was my second child, the oldest boy. He was bummed because he had a wrestling tournament today, and was hoping to spend time with friends instead. But he got up at 6am and took the bus to the tournament. We drove out a few hours later (about 40 minutes away) and watched the majority of his matches. I brought cupcakes for his team. He’s not big on celebrating, and really didn’t want to stray from that path today. A few years in a row now we’ve gone to his favorite restaurant, but it closed down this past year. He was never big on parties and isn’t one for being the center of attention.

When he got home, we went to the wireless store and picked him out a new phone (his old one was so crappy, and that’s all he wanted was a new phone – well and an iPod Touch, but, you know, money we are not made of). I used my “new every two” upgrade, but transferred the phone to him. Unfortunately the phone wasn’t in stock and we had to order it to be shipped to our house. The sale took a while, which frustrated him because he wanted to get going. He humored us with dinner – the whole family, which was nice; they brought out a sundae and did some clappy-clappy sing-song for him. Thrilled, you can imagine.

Then he went to hang out with his friends. Our daughter, we dropped at her friend’s house, him at his friend’s house, and the rest of us drove home, stopping to see the Christmas lights (on display each year in one of the city parks).

Parenting, raising children, is a strange process. When they were all young (oldest 11, youngest 3) it seemed like we would be there forever. It was stressful and exhausting, but wonderful at the same time. Having teenaged kids was just unfathomable. And here we are, our oldest 18, youngest 10). Moving out, driving, having relationships, employment issues… some of it is almost a flashback to my own youth, being 15, turning 16, meeting my future spouse, having kids, marrying. I look at parents of young children and wonder how I was them a blink ago, and here I am now. But then, really I’m just the same little girl in the blue dress and cap, 30 years later playing house and looking around in awe.

But now I’m talking about me. Wasn’t I just talking about birthdays?

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